Association of Parents of Disappeared Persons: A Social Justice Movement, Beyond Victimhood to Peace Bulding

Master's Thesis


This paper is an analysis of how gender roles are changing under conditions of occupation and militarization in Kashmir and how women are contributing to justice and peace projects through a close examination of the women associated with the human rights and justice campaign of The Association of Parents of Disappeared Persons (APDP). Over the past two decades in Kashmir, state violence in the form of enforced disappearances has brought women, especially the mothers and wives of disappeared men, out from the traditional domestic space of family and community into the public domain of activism and advocacy. The implications of conflict on the agentive role of women have been both limiting and enhancing, depending upon different situations. In this paper I will analyze how APDP has provided a platform to women to perform hitherto unknown agentive roles and has transformed their identity from victims to the human rights advocates and agents of peace. This study will examine the motivations and aspirations of these women, the processes of agency and identity formation that shape their roles in the struggle against disappearances, and the ways in which APDP facilitates, promotes and sustains these roles in the highly militaristic environment of Kashmir. The paper will be an important contribution towards understanding how women as victims of state violence under conditions of occupation can contribute to conflict transformation by advancing gendered claims for human rights, justice, and accountability. The paper will highlight their successes and also the obstacles faced by them under the conditions of militarization and how they overcome these obstacles. The paper will demonstrate if and how APDP contributes to the strengthening of democratic culture and rule of law in a conflict zone marked by pervasive impunity. This work is partly based on the field research including personal interviews, participant observation, and analysis of the organizational documents, organizational texts including website and press releases, media coverage and informal interactions carried out in the summer of 2010. Being born in Kashmir and having lived the experiences and the impact of conflict for most of my life, working as a lawyer and a human rights activist there, I have closely witnessed the devastating effects of the conflict on people’s lives on multiple levels and the impossibility of justice from the state institutions. With civil society initiatives in general and human rights activism in particular being viewed as anti-state activities, I personally am in know of the immense hardships that human rights defenders face on ground to carry on their activities. I have also drawn upon my personal knowledge in contributing to the discussions of the Kashmiri society in general and of women’s experiences in particular.


Attribute NameValues
  • etd-07212011-124211

Author Fasihun Nisa (Fasiha) Qadri
Advisor Prof. David Cortright
Contributor Prof. Scott Appleby, Committee Member
Contributor Prof. Daniel Philpott, Committee Member
Contributor Prof. David Cortright, Committee Chair
Degree Level Master's Thesis
Degree Discipline Peace Studies
Degree Name MA
Defense Date
  • 2011-06-08

Submission Date 2011-07-21
  • United States of America

  • Motherhood

  • Kashmir conflict

  • Association of Parents of Disappeared Persons

  • Maternalist

  • Enforced Disappearances

  • Militarization

  • Justice

  • Peace building

  • University of Notre Dame

  • English

Record Visibility Public
Content License
  • All rights reserved

Departments and Units


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